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The nuclear renaissance continues apace August 3, 2013

Posted by Maury Markowitz in nuclear.
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Further evidence of the sorry state of the nuclear industry floated up today with the announcement that Duke Energy was basically abandoning it’s plans to build two reactors in Florida.

They blamed it mostly on delays at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and to a lesser extent on the Florida lawmakers and even the lack of a carbon trading scheme.

These are all good reasons, I’m sure. But it seems they left out another one. Here, follow along…

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Fusion, the power of wishful thinking April 21, 2013

Posted by Maury Markowitz in fusion, nuclear.
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I got Sun in a Bottle by Seife the other day, a book on the history of nuclear fusion. Here’s my mini-review… and, of course, a comment.

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Why solar is nuclear’s best friend February 19, 2013

Posted by Maury Markowitz in nuclear, solar.
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For reasons I’ve never fully understood, the energy world is filled with one-size-fits-all claims. You know, “we can supply all the power we need from X” or Y, all we need is some unobtainium.

But those sources that don’t enjoy widespread public support often go further; their “boosters” often actively dismiss any criticism, including any support for alternate solutions. This is most notable in the nuclear arena, where it is trivially easy to find supporters who dismiss any and all other power sources for one reason or another.

This is a bit odd, because when the obvious problems building out any sort of “nuclear economy” comes up, these arguments come back to haunt them. Having dissed their erstwhile allies, it’s almost always nuclear that ends up being dismissed by the public.

For instance…

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Why fusion will never happen October 26, 2012

Posted by Maury Markowitz in fusion, nuclear.
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Fusion power!

I like fusion, really. I’ve talked to some of luminaries that work in the field, they’re great people. I love the technology and the physics behind it.

But fusion as a power source is never going to happen. Not because it can’t, because it won’t. Because no matter how hard you try, it’s always going to cost more than the solutions we already have.

Onward brave reader!

NOTE: this article used to contain a lengthy section outlining the tremendous technical issues still to overcome. It had nothing to do with the real argument, so I’ve removed it.

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Nuclear vs. Renewables, a tale of two subsidies July 22, 2011

Posted by Maury Markowitz in nuclear, power grid.
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Thinking over the recent AECL sale, and all the political hay due to Samsung’s part in the Green Energy Act (GEA), I realized there’s a wonderful illustration of the difference between subsidy levels in the power industry.

SNC-Lavalin got to buy AECL for $15 million, and was immediately paid $750 million in tax write-offs.

Samsung got access to the grid for $7 billion, and was handed $452 back in tax write-offs.

That’s really the whole story right there. But when you dig a deeper, it gets even better…

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SNC finally buys AECL July 10, 2011

Posted by Maury Markowitz in AECL, nuclear.
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In what has to be one of the best deals in history, SNC-Lavalan just picked up the reactor design division of AECL for a mere $15 million. If that weren’t a great enough deal, the government kept all the debts! Wow, Canadian taxpayer, FTW!

SNC is claiming that at least one 900 MW class reactor is going to be built in Ontario, with the wink-shrug that they’re going to win it. The funny thing is, AECL doesn’t have a 900 MW reactor on offer right now, just the 735 MW EC6 and the now-dead 1200 MW ACR-1000 that failed to win the contract last time.

Interesting indeed, but I suspect there’ll be no information on this until the next press release. Oh, and here it is… So basically the deal is this, SNC pays the government $15 million, they immediately get paid $75 million for doing so, and on top of that the government keeps all the debts. Wow!